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Cigarette smoking involves tobacco, a plant grown for its leaves. Tobacco is an addictive substance that contains the chemical nicotine which can be smoked, chewed, or sniffed. 

WHAT are possible health risks?

The addictive substance, nicotine has different effects on different people. There are some short-term effects on smokers, such as temporarily boosting short-term memory and concentration. This short period of “feeling good” can boost the mood at that time. However, there are serious health risks for smokers. The bad chemicals in smoking can cause health problems, such as blood clots and strokes, cancer, lung problems and high blood pressure. More specifically, there can be problems with cancer in many areas of the body, emphysema, asthma and infertility problems. 

WHAT about secondhand smoke?

If you are around friends or others who smoke, there may be some risks of heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory infections. Some infections can also occur in the nasal, throat and eye areas. 

WHY should you quit?

There are many benefits to quitting. If you do smoke and are considering quitting, go to the College Tobacco Prevention Resource website to learn more. Benefits to quitting include: 

  • People will want to be around you more because your appearance will improve 
  • You will smell better 
  • You won’t have yellow teeth, and can get shiny, white teeth 
  • Your schoolwork and social life will improve 
  • More people will be willing to date you, since most people don’t smoke 
  • You will save money since cigarettes are expensive 
  • You will be healthier and live a longer life  

HOW to quit?

Quitting tobacco is difficult, but there are many ways to stop. Talk to the Counseling Center staff for help. You could try chewing some gum instead, and talk to other friends about forming groups to quit smoking. It is good to get back on track to a healthy life early, so that you can enjoy the rest of it. You can learn more about adolescent smoking at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. There are tip sheets, scientific studies and many other valuable resources to help you stop smoking. 

WHAT to do instead? 

Don’t give into peer pressure. Smoking is a bad habit and you do not want to be addicted to something that is unnecessary. Find other activities to do with your friends, since as trying out new places off-campus or playing other games. (